Articles

Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan adhmad? (What shall we do without timber?)

Chris McDonnell writing in the Catholic Times reminds us that ‘We do not appreciate trees until they are lost, to be replaced by brick and concrete and the harshness of urban development.”
“There is a simplicity in wood in contrast to the gaudiness of so many other materials. The smell of wood being worked, the dust and shavings littering the workshop floor is indeed a precious memory. We are told it was the trade of Joseph.”

The Inspiration of a Cowslip

Seamus Ahearne casts a cold eye on ‘The present day chaos of bureaucracy (that) almost drowns our souls.’; ‘the great competition going on between the ‘essential’ aspects of life and the nonsense of paperwork or meetings to protect our backs.’ 
Seamus asks of our celebration of Eucharist ‘Do we find it prayerful ourselves (as priests)?
Of the political he says “The Government gets strangled by stray issues. …  So much of it is an avoidance of the real problems.”
But then the sight of a “little cowslip. It stops me. And I gasp.  What stops other people? … I think our job … is to open eyes, hearts, imaginations and then to help each other, see. Then real worship will follow. Then the Scriptures will come alive. Then Communion will happen. Then our faith will be confirmed.”

Male and Female, in the image and likeness of God?

John J Shea again writes to Pope Francis and the Council of Cardinals on the issue of the ordination of women.
John says to Pope Francis “You kept insisting: “dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.” In fact, you said: “dialogue fearlessly.”
Yet, there is not nor has there been any dialogue—fearless, gender inclusive, or otherwise—on the ordination of women, arguably the most important issue in the church. As Supreme Pontiff can you call now for synodal dialogue and end the appalling silence of our church?”

Walk with me

Chris McDonnell writes, in the Catholic Times 13 April, on the significance of ‘breaking the bread’ together.
“It is important that we recognise that we not only receive the Risen Christ but share that experience with each other.”

Accentuate the Positive

Seamus Ahearne takes a look at current happenings and decides that we should ‘Accentuate the Positive’.
“never mind what has happened or is happening or how church people are characterised – we still are missioned and graced by God. We need to believe in ourselves. We need to get on with life. We may age. We may not have replacements. But faith goes on. God goes on. The sun still rises. The daffodils still fight their way out of the ground and are heard and seen despite the bad weather. Why can’t we do the same? Get on with it. “
Seamus also confirms that he won’t be the next Archbishop of Dublin! 

Does it really matter if pubs open on Good Friday?

Brendan Hoban writes in his weekly Western People column, and in the Irish Examiner of 03 April, of the changing Ireland we live in:
“While most people are content to try and navigate the uncertain currents of the modern world, the leaders of the Catholic Church seem reluctant to enter its choppy waters. They don’t seem to be able to let go of the anchors that once stabilised the foundations around which we built the Church of the past but that now bind us to the wisdom of a different world.”

Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for the Mass of Chrism – St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh

Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for the Mass of Chrism –
“We must not think we have always to be in control, always to be ‘the fixers’, the ones with all the answers, forgetting that we too are human; we have our own sinfulness, vulnerabilities and needs. It is not a sign of weakness as a priest to admit that you sometimes fail, or need help and accompaniment.”

Vatican youth meeting

Joshua J. McElwee reports in the National Catholic Reporter on the Vatican-hosted conference of some 300 young people meant to advise Catholic bishops on the needs of youth today and that they “acknowledged that some in their generation want the church to change its teachings on so-called “polemical issues” such as same-sex marriage and use of contraception.”

Being alone does not work

Brian Fahy, reflecting on his own life experiences, decides that “Emotional self-sufficiency is a destructive notion. We need the interplay of one another and the learning processes that enable us to move into emotional inter-dependence if a healthy life is to ensue.”
It is a timely reminder along with the call in The Tablet for seminary reform. “The seminary system dates from the sixteenth century, and aimed to produce experts in the Catholic faith. That’s all well and good; but there are other needs too. Modern priests should also be mature human beings who can understand the modern world without being absorbed by it.”

Forever Moving On ….. But Never Stopping to Solve Problems

Chris McDonnell in a recent article in the Catholic Times writes of student attempts in the U.S. to bring about reform in gun laws where adults fail or refuse to do so.
He asks “What can the Church contribute to the discussion?” “We are quick-and rightly so-to condemn abortion. This .. crisis is also a matter of right to life and demands courageous action.”

Australian Catholic Church to hold first Plenary Council in 80 years

Vatican News covers the story that the Australian Catholic Church, with the approval of Pope Francis, will hold a Plenary Council in 2020 to discuss its way forward in light of the challenges it faces in contemporary society.
With speculation that arrangements for Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland will be announced this week would it be too much to hope that a Council like Australia’s could be called for Ireland. It might have more lasting benefit that a Papal visit.

“Your God is too small“ – Hawking

Seamus Ahearne casts and eye over recent happenings.
“We celebrated St Patrick. Was his father a deacon and his grandfather a priest? I don’t know. The accretions of history have decorated the story and there is great unsureness. But it doesn’t matter really, the essentials of faith and mission have survived. His Confessions are delightful in their simplicity; evocative as a story; inspirational in how God works despite our own shortcomings.”

Plastics in the Oceans

Sean McDonagh draws our attention to important findings of research carried out by marine scientists of the National University of Ireland Galway on the amount of plastic in fish in the northwest Atlantic.
Sean asks ‘Should the Churches be involved in protecting our oceans? Has a Justice and Peace group in any parish or diocese challenged the fact that our retail stores still force us to use single-use plastics?’. 

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